So, Ryan Clark thinks the 0-4 Pittsburgh Steelers can still make the playoffs? Is he watching the same team that the rest of us are? The Steelers season is upside down, and they are in a downward spiral from which they may not escape.
In the first two games of the season, the offense was only able to muster a meager 19 points. True, in the past two games, they’ve scored 23 and 27 points, respectively. Meanwhile, the defense had given up 36 points in the first two games. In the past two, they’ve become a doormat for the opposition, surrendering 40 and 34 points. It seems when the defense shows up, the offense doesn’t and vice versa. The Steelers are following a dangerous path that they were on last season when they limped to a 2-5 finish.
The last time they won a game, regular season or otherwise, was a meaningless 24-10 victory over Cleveland on December 30. The offense has given up three fumbles in four games. Ben Roethlisberger continues to regress behind his shoddy offensive line. He has thrown five interceptions and has been sacked 15 times. On the other side of the coin, the defense has managed just four sacks and zero turnovers.
The key to making the playoffs is to win your division. The Steelers did not get off to a good start there, either. They dropped their first division game already, losing at Cincinnati 20-10. True, Heath Miller and second-round pick, Le’Veon Bell have returned from injuries. Miller will help with the blocking and act as Roethlisberger’s security blanket when his receivers aren’t open. Bell ran for a respectable 57 yards and two touchdowns in his first regular season game last week.
The Steelers also traded for former 1st-round pick Levi Brown to take over at left tackle. Still, considering that Cleveland leads the division at 3-2, the Steelers do have a shot at making the playoffs. They would need to keep Roethlisberger upright, find a running game with Bell and protect the football. At the same time, the defense would need to step up their game by putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks to force the opposition into making mistakes and take advantage of those mistakes.
The defense can’t continue to sit back and wait for things to happen. It’s time to make something happen. Cleveland and Cincinnati are both 1-1 in the AFC North. Defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore is 1-0. True, it’s not too late to make the playoffs. If the Steelers hope to prove Clark right, they need to start immediately.
However, with apologizes to Mr. Clark, there may be too many “ifs” and not enough wins to see the Steelers make the playoffs this season. The Steelers will need to start the road to the playoffs this week in a winnable game against the New York Jets. They can’t look ahead, just take it one game at a time. Come playoff time, we’ll see if the Steelers are in the playoffs or watching at home with the rest of us.